Warning: Your relationship with customers may be at a high-risk! In fact, buyers rate two-out-of-three of B2B salespeople as average or poor, according to a recent Discover.org survey.
This alarming number points to a major disconnect between sales pros and their customers. It’s safe to assume that sales pros aren’t walking through customers’ doors purposely giving them poor service.
But, let’s be honest, building and honoring any type of relationship is tricky business. When medical sales reps try too hard to impress customers, they end up off course and, potentially, offending customers. Even the most well-meaning one-liner can turn a positive conversation sour.
Here are four well-meaning phrases you need to delete from your medical sales book now:
1. “How are you?”
Consider all the times you walked into a room and someone said “How are you?” but didn’t stick around to hear the answer. This common phrase has passed the overused stage and officially hit meaningless.
It’s something we say in passing to strangers or to friends when they walk through the door. However, the responses are often short or even non-existent.
Your medical sales customers deserve a sincere and meaningful conversation starter. They’re busy and need to quickly know you care about their business and have been thinking about them.
Consider instead: “How is your _____” or “How did the _____”
Insert specific phrases that show you’ve been paying attention. You remember their pet wasn’t doing well, how are they now? The last time you chatted, a patient was undergoing a complicated procedure, how did that go?
2. “I was in the area and wanted to stop by.”
Stopping in just to check-in and chat is a kind gesture — on the surface. However, being ‘in the area’ doesn’t make customers feel important or unique. Were you actually just stopping out of convenience for yourself?
Likely, this wasn’t your intention. You stopped in to reconnect and ask if they needed anything. This phrase is just another conversation starter, especially when you’re feeling nervous about stopping in unexpectedly or cold-calling.
Consider instead: “I wanted to stop in and check on how things are going.” “I know you were running low on ___, do you need me to put an order in?”
Give your run-in a real purpose. Let customers know that whether you were 100 miles away or five minutes down the road, they’re worth the time and mileage.
3. “I’d love to hear more about your business.”
Ah, yes, the cold call icebreaker. This well-meaning phrase is meant to get customers chatting. Hopefully, they’ll open up about their business and you can connect over your passions for healthcare.
Showing an interest in customers is, of course, a positive sales technique. But you must first show that you’ve done your research. Healthcare pros are busy and don’t have the time or desire to sit and explain their history to a sales rep.
Consider instead: “I saw on your website ____.” “I’ve heard wonderful things about your _____.”
As you go, the goal will be to slowly gain more in-depth, personal knowledge about your customer. You’ll get there by simply having conversations about business in general or even as you share your own personal stories. For now, discuss specific details you saw on their website, heard from patients, or saw in reviews.
4. “I know you said _____, but…”
The word “but,” in general, often has a negative connotation. It means you understand what someone said, but are choosing not to respect their words. In some cases, it can come across as you saying a customer made the wrong decision.
Here are two examples:
- I know you said to check-in next Friday, but I wanted to call today to see how things are going.”
- I know you said you used X product in the past, but our new product has less detrimental side effects.”
Both of these point to a medical sales rep who is concerned about their customer and their patients. It also, unfortunately, shows a lack of respect for the customer’s wishes, time, and their past decisions.
Consider instead: “Earlier, we discussed ____. I wanted to ensure that’s still what you need/want.”
Acknowledge the fact that you heard and respect what a customer previously said. Then, let them know you’re checking back in to make sure their needs haven’t changed anything.
What are some well-meaning phrases you’ve said or heard other medical sales reps say that you’ve cut from your book of phrases? Let us know!